From 1451 to 1727 the first names and surnames of graduates were written in the Graduation albums in their Latin form. They also appear in Latin on the University of Glasgow Story.
Some are recognisable, for example the modern equivalent of Robertus Andersonus would be Robert Anderson. But it may not be obvious that Gualterus Quhytfurd could be translated today as Walter Whitford.
Standardised spelling did not come into place until the mid-nineteenth century, and up until this period it was common to find many different versions of a single surname, even amongst members of the same family.
One example is the surname Hamilton, which appears in many different forms on this website, including Hammiltonus, Hamiltonus, Hamiltonius, Hammyltonius and Hammiltonius.
First names were also 'Latinised' often by adding the suffix 'us'.
To make it easier to search for graduates from this period there is the facility to browse an alphabetical list of graduate surnames. This should be of assistance in searching for the Latin equivalents of modern
surnames as most names will be recognisable, even if they have altered slightly over the years. Search Graduates to 1912 searches the graduate records for both Latin and modern names.
For example, a search on John will produce a list of all graduates with the name John or the Latin equivalent, Joannes. A search for the surname Wilson will produce a list of graduates with
the surname Wilson, as well as the Latin equivalent, Wilsonus.
The following resources provide guidance on the history of Scottish surnames:
- George F Black, The Surnames of Scotland: their origin, meaning, and history, (New York: New York Public Library, 1946)
- Paul Blake, What's In a Name? Your Link to the Past, BBC Family History
- Society of Genealogists Information Leaflet No. 7, The relevance of surnames in genealogy, Society of Genealogists
- William L Kirk, Introduction to the Derivation of Scottish Surnames, Clan Macrae Society of Canada
- Latinized Given Names, Rootsweb
Nationalities and countries of birth are generally recorded in Latin for the early graduates of the University of Glasgow. An explanation of the translations made between the Latin and English forms of countries
and nationalities is given below. Whilst the three different Latin variations for Ireland (Hibernus, Anglo-Hibernus and Scoto-Hibernus) would have referred to different geographical regions of Ireland, all are
translated as Ireland on the University of Glasgow Story. It is impossible to match these terms precisely to the current counties of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
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